STOURBRIDGE’S MP has said there has been a “marked improvement” in patients being able to contact the town’s supersized GP surgery which earlier this year was revealed to be the worst to get through to on the telephone.

Lion Health in Lowndes Road suffered repeated criticism on social media just a few months ago as people aired their frustrations about lengthy waits on the telephone endured to try to book a GP appointment or get through to the surgery.

And according to the 2023 GP Patient Survey, just 10 per cent of Lion Health patients said they found it easy to get through via the phone – with an overwhelming 90 per cent of survey respondents describing it as ‘not easy’.

Stourbridge MP Suzanne Webb said at the time that the amount of correspondence she had received on the matter from constituents was of “great concern” and that she had hoped to arrange a meeting with bosses at the GP surgery.

This week she confirmed she has now met with new practice manager Wayne Gardner, partner doctor Glenys Wilson and Jag Tomlinson from the Independent Care Board.

Ms Webb visited the surgery to discuss patient care, the troubled phone system and to meet with staff – although she said that emails from constituents about Lion Health have settled down of late.

She said she was advised that Lion Health changed its phone system in March and that surgery bosses were due to meet with the company running its soon to discuss further improvements.

She added that the practice – one of the biggest in the area - has also been trying to encourage patients to use online services to relieve pressure on the phone lines.

The MP said after her visit: “It has undertaken stakeholder meetings recently to improve community engagement, it is improving its phone lines and it is being open and transparent about the challenges it faces.

“I recognise the pressure it and other GP surgeries are under.”

She praised the surgery for its work during challenging times and said she hopes to visit again in future and she added: “I always keep on top of the emails I receive about Lion Health and there has been a marked improvement of late when it comes to being able to contact it.

"However, I will continue to speak to Lion Health on behalf of local people, if problems arise.”

A spokesperson for Lion Health said: “Dr Glenys Wilson and Wayne Gardner were happy to meet Suzanne to discuss the challenges which both the NHS and Lion Health have and continue to face.

“There was acknowledgement that although Lion Health, like all NHS GP practices, faces many challenges, the quality of care provided has repeatedly been shown to have been of a high level both in terms of access and in relation to patients’ experience.

“It was discussed in the meeting what additional actions Lion Health is taking to improve some of the more acute challenges it faces, such as communication channels with patients.

“Dr Wilson and Wayne appreciated Suzanne’s time and engagement on these matters.”